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Nua Blather: Silly Season - Monsters, UFOs, etc

From: Dave Walsh <dave@nua.ie>
Date: Fri, 03 Jul 1998 18:14:17 +0100
Fwd Date: Sat, 04 Jul 1998 10:27:14 -0400
Subject: Nua Blather: Silly Season - Monsters, UFOs, etc

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By Daev Walsh   Email: blather@nua.ie
Web: http://www.nua.ie/blather/
July 3 1998  Published By:  Nua Limited  Vol 2. No. 8


Today's issue (July 3rd 1998) of that not particularly erudite
newsheet *The Star*, carries a report titled *Look out, it's
Eskie!*, which tells the tale of a lake monster sighting on Lough
Eske [a.k.a. Lough Easke], a few miles north of Donegal town, in
north-eastern Ireland. Diners and staff at Harvey's Point Hotel
(http://www.commerce.ie/harveys-pt/) saw 'something' moving
about, around 300m (328 yds)from the shore on Sunday 28th June at
2:30pm. Local B&B boss Annabel Clarke reckons that the beastie was up
looking for food, while her husband Kieran commented that '"some
lakes in Donegal are said to be connected by current to Scotland"'.
Disappearing rivers, caverns, connecting lakes (which does happen,
e.g. Lough Mask and Corrib) are all classic motifs in lake monster
lore.I even seem to recall claims of links between Scottish
and North American lakes!

The article is accompanied by a photo of the hotel's banqueting
manager, Seamus Caldwell -- one of the witnesses -- looking at the
lake through binoculars, and has an inset of a plesiosaur
illustration labelled 'COUSIN: Lough Ness Monster', which almost
caused me to choke on my breakfast [Let me point out at this
juncture that I don't normally read *The Star* over breakfast].

On a practical side, Lough Eske is at an elevation of about 100m (328
ft) about sea-level, and connects into Donegal bay by the River Eske
which is only 3 or four miles long. I'm unfamiliar with the terrain,
and Blather's readers are welcome to comment on the practicability of
seals etc. entering Lough Eske. So far, I haven't come across any
mentions of Lough Eske in lake monster literature, but Robert Lloyd
Praeger does mention it on page 52 of *The Way That I Went*.

	'Lough Easke (*Loch eisc*, lake of the fish) offers a softer type
	of scenery, for though surrounded by hills on three sides, its
	sheltered position allows rich woodland to clothe its western
	shores (Plate V [photo included]). It is indeed a very beautiful
	lake, seen to its best advantage from the southern end, where the
	rounded summits of the naked Blue Stack Mountains (2219 feet) are
	seen rising behind the heathery hills that surround the lake.'

Lough Belshade, another two miles up river, have some tales attached.
The Gaelic name, loch b=E9l s=E9ad translates as the lake with the jewel
mouth. it comes from a legend in the *Leabhar Breac*, which tells us

	'"*Coerabar boeth*, the daughter of Etal Anbuail of the fairy
	mansions of Connaught, was a beautiful and powerfully gifted
	maiden. She had	three times fifty 50 ladies in her train. They
	were all transformed every year into three times fifty beautiful
	birds and restored to heir natural shape the next year. These
	birds were chained in couples by chains of silver. One bird among
	them was the most beautiful of the world's birds having a
	necklace of red gold on her	neck, with three times fifty chains
	depending from it, each chain terminating in a ball of gold.
	During their transformation into birds they always remained in
	Loch Crotta Cliath [that is, the Lake of cliath's harps]
	wherefore the people who saw them were in the habit of saying:
	'Many is the *S=E9ad* [that is, a gem, or jewel, or other
	precious article] at the mouth of Loch Crotta this day. And hence
	it is called *Loch B=E9l S=E9ad* [or the Lake of the Jewel

Robert Lloyd Praeger
*The Way That I Went* 1937, republished 1997 by The Collins Press
ISBN 1-898-256-357

(*The Star*, Friday July 3rd 1998)

While on the subject of lake monsters, we may as well go so far as to
share with you an upcoming Blather outing.

In Blather Vol 1. No. 42, back on February 27th 1998, we had a story
labelled *A Monster Hunting We Will Go*
(http://www.nua.ie/blather/archives/issue1no42.html), which told of a
planned monster-hunt to Lake Seljord in Norway. In the following
(http://www.nua.ie/blather/archives/issue1no43.html) Jan-Ove
Sundberg, the leader of the expedition, gave us his views regarding
to some rather spurious remarks from scientists regarding lakeside

This Blatherskite is flattered to have been invited aboard as part of
the team, or to be more precise the Global Underwater Search Team
(GUST), which seeks to corroborate 250 years of lake monster
sightings on the lake. The project runs from August 3rd - 20th, and
24-hour surveillance will be maintained by the 12 person team. The
proceedings will be filmed for both the Discovery Channel and the
BBC. More details on the lake, the monster, the GUST team and the
equipment we'll be using is available at the GUST website.
(http://www.bahnhof.se/~wizard/gust). More news as it all unfolds.

See also *Netman hunts Norwegian Nessie*, Sunday Business Post, June
28 1998, Page 11

The Derry Journal Friday 19th of June 1998 tells us of *Close
Encounters of the Derry Kind*, enlightening us as to how folks
thereabouts are convinced of extraterrestrial contact during that
week. The paper received various anonymous reports of 'round
objects' seen 'high in the sky' over the Galliagh area at around 11am
on Wednesday 17th. The object was said to be spinning, and
reflective, but noiseless. It was joined [how?, did they *arrive*, or
just appear?] by two more, and '"all three could be seen spinning
high in the sky."'

The claimants said that the UFOs moved across the sky, and two shot
vertically upwards 'straight up into the atmosphere'. The other
continued flying across the sky, and vanished.

The Journal seems to have had a ball investigating these claims,
with little success. Derry airport said that *the* hadn't seen
anything, while the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) urged witnesses
to contact their '"alien branch"'.

The article was accompanied by photo with this caption:

'It was something like this...This special photofit images was
similar to the spherical like object which several readers claimed to
have seen circling Derry this week'
[Image shows shot of Derry, with stuck-on flying *saucer*]

So, is this just silly season stuff, or is there any credence to it
at all?

[Thanks to Ciaran O'Neill from the Derry Journal for faxing me the
article, and Patricia Sharkey for alerting me to this, and to earlier
reports in the Donegal Democrat, a copy of which I have been as yet
unable to acquire.]

Mention was made to me only this morning by one Gerry Minehan of
'goat sucker'-like creature which alledgedly haunted the Gougane
Barra Forest Park area in Co. Cork during the 1930s. First I heard of
it, though Doc Shiels does make mention of the Ballyvourney Beast in
Fortean Times 34:20, seen about 10 miles north-east of Gougane Barra
by Seamus Creagh and Pauline Dodds, way back in 1981. They reckoned
they had seen a lynx. Apart from it being the haunt of Saint Gobnate,
the Pooka and a Spirit Horse got up to no good around Ballyvourney,
according to Thomas Crofton Croker
Morty Sullivan had a bit of a run-in with the Pooka, in the shape of
an old woman, 'a sulphureous puff coming out of her mouth, her
nostrils distending, and her eyes growing redder than ever'. He was
found batter and bruised the next morning by a bunch of pilgrims to
St. Fin Barre's church at Gougane Barra, or so we're told. Unrelated
of course, were the goings-on in a funeral home there in March 1997,
involving an assault against a corpse by an former U.S. Marine.

In the same Doc Shiels article, according to a letter from a Miss
Kathleen O'Shea of Cork City, had a bit of a weird experience on
4p.m. on the 9th of August, while walking near Smerwick on the Dingle
Peninsula, Co. Kerry. She was heading towards Ballyferriter,
and the sky was "dark with rain clouds". As she made for shelter, "a
giant black animal like a bat flew up. I screamed and fell forward.
When I dared to open my eyes it had gone. I ran all the way to
Ballyferriter. . ." An Irish Owlman, Mothman, Goatsucker or a Devil?

Blatherskite alter-ego pontificates on the work of Robert Anton
Wilson in June's Purple Ept

Dave Walsh
July 3rd 1998

Feedback and comments to <blather@nua.ie>

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